JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press

Table of Contents Character Summaries


Chapter 3:

Thinking Too Much

Tuesday: About 8:00 a.m. MST
(Red Feather Lakes Road, Colorado)

The previous afternoon, Franklin and Jo had driven to their cabin near Red Feather Lakes in comfortable silence. Franklin and Jo had married while they were still in college and had grown up, and grown, together. Jo Falcon was extraordinarily compassionate, but she had a bit of Winston Churchill in her. Saying she could be direct—well, that was clearly an understatement. However, Franklin, who tended to brood, valued her forthrightness and decisiveness.

Franklin needed her help, especially with the deciding part. He was doing an excellent job on his own with the brooding part.

They’d owned the cabin for more than 30 years and enjoyed spending as much time there as they could, that is, when their two sons and their families weren’t using it. Their grandchildren especially loved the place, but their school schedules allowed only weekend use this time of year. Upon their arrival, the cabin had been ready for Franklin and Jo, immaculate and quiet. Perfect.

They were avid cross-country skiers, and before dinner last night, they had taken Maggie on a five-mile trek. Maggie was a loyal companion, part Australian Shepherd and part Great Pyrenees. She was a master at making sure things were under control, but in a calm, friendly, canine sort of way. Franklin appreciated her organizing instincts, but he long ago had wished Maggie knew more about the stock market, hiring practices, and public relations. She listened well, but her advice was lacking in details.

At dinner Franklin said, “I’m not sure what to do. I could really use . . .”

Jo cut in, “Are you ready to admit yet that the foundation is in trouble? If you’re not, there’s nothing to discuss.” She paused. “We don’t have enough money to pay our bills, and this is in large part due to some of your decisions, right?”

He blinked once, then twice.

“Jo, you always know how to get right to things . . .” His voice trailed to a whisper, his eyes filling with tears. There. It was out in the open. This was the central issue, and he knew it. He’d just had trouble admitting it. “Yes. I realize the foundation finds itself in a difficult spot, and I’m thinking about some steps we can take to get things turned around.” He looked absently out the picture window. Tonight he wasn’t seeing the view that usually inspired him.

Jo reached for his hand and squeezed. “You know, my father always told me, if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!” Jo was very fond of simple, straightforward philosophy.

Stop digging. The words echoed in Franklin’s brain as he swirled the wine in his glass.

A pause. She caught herself. “I’m sorry. I know how hard you work, how much of yourself you give to others every day. But you are only one person. How can you expect to have all the answers?”

He glanced up at her, caught her eye ever so briefly, and returned his gaze to his empty plate. Speaking to the china, he said, “Yes—again, you’re right.”

“Freddie, maybe it’s time to look at things differently. Maybe it’s time to share more details with more members of your executive team. They’re a pretty talented bunch, no? And what about the board? I know you hate those meetings, but maybe you could trust them enough to involve them, too.” She was the only person on earth now who called him Freddie—it was the name his mother had called him—a nickname coming from his given name of Ferencz. Hearing the name “Freddie” always had a way of anchoring him, of reminding him that he has always been loved.

His mind retreated inwards. “Share more details? Hmm . . . I’ll have to give it some thought,” he promised Jo, although he really didn’t know what to do first.

She smiled. “There you go—thinking again!” Her voice was teasing, but her message was direct.
They’d turned in early, and much to Franklin’s surprise, he’d slept soundly. But the morning arrived without new insights. They’d made and enjoyed a breakfast of fresh fruit and whole grain cereal, and now they were in the process of doing the dishes as Maggie walked into the kitchen.

“Answers. I need answers,” Franklin implored the big white dog as he reached to scratch Maggie behind the ears. Her tail wagged enthusiastically, but she remained mute.

Jo was packing the remaining food as Franklin reached for his phone. “Betty—good morning! Yes, yes, we had a great evening. The hummus was delightful; thank you for thinking of it. . . . Oh, yes, Jo’s great. We’re headed back to Loveland in about 35 minutes or so, and I should be in the office by noon. . . . Okay, I’ll drive carefully. No, I hadn’t heard about the weather forecast. Anyway, thank you, Betty!”

Once the kitchen was clean, he took out the well-worn checklist he’d created more than 20 years ago to ensure everything was “just so” after cabin visits. He ran over the list at least twice each time they left, and today was no different.

“Come on, Freddie, we need to get going.” She shook her head and walked up to him and hugged him. “You know, I bet you never colored outside the lines when you were a kid,” she kidded him.

“Huh . . . I’m sorry, Jo. I’m almost done. What was it you said?”

“Never mind. Come on, Maggie; let’s go load up the car!” Jo opened the door, and Maggie responded by rushing out to the silver SUV and whining impatiently to be let into the backseat.

As he finished the second pass on the checklist, Franklin’s subconscious spoke, “God, I really miss Marty. I know he’d have the right answers.”

Franklin set the alarm, closed and locked the cabin door, and tossed his bag into the back of their car. He climbed in, started the engine, and switched on the wipers to clear the accumulating drizzle from the windshield. It appeared the weather forecasters were right: The early bands of a potentially large weather system would be coming over the foothills today. Colorado was notorious for blizzards in March, and the storm models suggested a sizable storm could be on the way.

He certainly felt as if a storm was building.

Table of Contents Character Summaries

JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press